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Brazil Generalized System of Preferences Intellectual Property Rights Review Extended

WASHINGTON - The Administration today announced that it will continue to review a petition to remove Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) benefits from Brazil for inadequate protection of intellectual property rights. The U.S. Government has held a series of meetings with the Government of Brazil and notes the measures taken to date to address copyright piracy concerns. These discussions have resulted in identification by the Government of Brazil of a number of key priorities and actions to combat copyright piracy through enforcement of existing laws. Accordingly, the United States and Brazil expect to maintain a dialogue on developments in this critical area. In the meantime, the review of the petition has been formally extended through March 31, 2005 in order assess Brazil’s progress in meeting these shared goals. The Administration attaches a high priority to obtaining substantial improvement in the protection of U.S. intellectual property rights in Brazil, and will continue to work closely with U.S. copyright interests to that end.

On June 30, the Administration announced that it would continue to review Brazil’s eligibility for GSP for a ninety-day period, which concluded on September 30. In a series of meetings during that period, the U.S. Government and the Government of Brazil examined both steps taken and future plans to strengthen and improve copyright enforcement. Among other steps, the Government of Brazil has recently established the National Council for Combating Piracy and Intellectual Property Crimes, a high-level inter-ministerial committee with private sector participation, whose objectives include the development and implementation of a national anti-piracy plan. The revised schedule extends the review for an additional 180 days from October 1, 2004.

Background

The U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world, provides preferential duty-free entry for more than 4,650 products from 144 designated beneficiary countries and territories. Under the Trade Act of 1974, the President is authorized to withdraw, suspend, or limit duty-free treatment for any article from one or more beneficiary developing countries after considering, among other factors, whether that country provides adequate and effective intellectual property protection.

The Administration initiated a GSP IPR review for Brazil in January 2001 based on a petition from the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA). According to IIPA, estimated losses due to piracy of copyrighted materials totaled $785 million in 2003, an increase of $70 million over the previous year and the largest loss in the hemisphere. There have been some positive developments in Brazil, including the report of the Commission on Parliamentary Inquiry to address piracy, some moderate successes in civil copyright infringement cases and improved dialogue and information sharing regarding copyright piracy through the U.S. – Brazil Bilateral Consultative Committee. However, U.S. copyright holders argue that they continue to suffer substantial losses due to piracy.

In 2003, duty-free GSP imports from Brazil totaled $2.5 billion and comprised 14 percent of total imports from Brazil of $17.9 billion. Brazil accounted for 12% of total U.S. GSP imports of $21.3 billion in 2003. Key GSP imports from Brazil include: motor vehicle parts and accessories; granite monument/other stone; copper cathodes and other copper products; and wood and millwork products.